The Seven Pillar Edicts #4 Vs. Cato’s Letters #

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The Seven Pillar Edicts #4 vs. Cato's Letters #15 In the Seven Pillar Edicts #4, this was written.

"Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation. My Rajjukas are working among the people, among many hundreds of thousands of people. The hearing of petitions and the administration of justice has been left to them so that they can do their duties confidently and fearlessly and so that they can work for the welfare, happiness and benefit of the people in the country. But they should remember what causes happiness and sorrow, and being themselves devoted to Dhamma, they should encourage the people in the country (to do the same), that they may attain happiness in this world and the next. These Rajjukas are eager to serve me. They also obey other officers who know my desires, who instruct the Rajjukas so that they can please me.

Just as a person feels confident having entrusted his child to an expert nurse thinking: "The nurse will keep my child well," even so, the Rajjukas have been appointed by me for the welfare and happiness of the people in the country.

The hearing of petitions and the administration of justice have been left to the Rajjukas so that they can do their duties unperturbed, fearlessly and confidently. It is my desire that there should be uniformity in law and uniformity in sentencing. I even go this far, to grant a three-day stay for those in prison who have been tried and sentenced to death. During this time their relatives can make appeals to have the prisoners' lives spared. If there is none to appeal on their behalf, the prisoners can give gifts in order to make merit for the next world, or observe fasts. Indeed, it is my wish that in this way, even if a prisoner's time is limited, he can prepare for the next world, and that people's Dhamma practice, self-control and generosity may grow." (Taken directly from the fourth letter on website one in the bibliography).

I am not going to type the entire 15th letter from Cato's letters because it is extremely long and it would take up about five pages.

In Asoka's words, he is trying to get his (Rajjukas) or people who work for him, to interact with the people and help the people and give them what they want; a better way of life and choices to be made. The 15th letter of Cato focuses more on the freedom of speech. "without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as publick liberty, without freedom of speech: which is the right of every man, as far as by it he does not hurt and control the right of another; and this is the only check which it ought to suffer, the only bounds which it ought to know." (Source two). In edict 4, Asoka writes about getting the peoples needs fulfilled and being fair to everyone, governing fairly, upholding the law fairly to each and every person. In Cato's letter 15, freedom of speech is along the same lines of Asoka. It is ridiculous in the countries where a man can't even call his tongue his own, so both letter's are working toward the same purpose, freedom of speech and a happier, more independent way of life.

There were many small differences and also many things that went along the same lines in these two letter's, but one small but important difference that I noticed was the fact that In the Seven Pillar's Edicts, there was already an elected governing official. And he himself appointed who he wanted to for his magistrates and officials. In Cato's letters, we see that we the people get to elect who we want to before they can govern us in any way and this is significant because we tailor things the way we want until that official gets into office, but in letter number 4, they had to deal with who was already there. Some of the readings were a little hard to understand, but they were very interesting, especially since I believe these two letters are very similar.

Bibliography 1. http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.html 2. http://www.constitution.org/cl/cato_015.htm 3. http://www.thanhsiang.org/education/dip3-4.3.htm 4. http://www.departments.colgate.edu/greatreligions/pages/buddhanet/th…/asoka386.tx